Old-Fashioned Banana Pudding

I recently had a craving for banana pudding.

I don’t know banana pudding of all things popped into my head, but I couldn’t stop thinking about it.

Old-Fashioned Banana Pudding - Sweet and creamy pudding with oodles of Nilla Wafers! A classic comfort-food dessert that's so good!

So I had to make it. Plus, I love Nilla wafers and they’re layered in the pudding and sprinkled on top. Over time, they soften from the pudding but still retain some crunchiness, I’m in heaven.

The pudding reminds me of the banana pudding my grandma used to make. It’s sweet, creamy, and thick with abundant vanilla. The pudding itself has no bananas in it, and they’re layered in the pan with Nilla wafers, making the pudding quite universal for non-banana desserts.

Old-Fashioned Banana Pudding - Sweet and creamy pudding with oodles of Nilla Wafers! A classic comfort-food dessert that's so good!

If you’ve never had pudding from scratch, it’s nothing like pudding mix from a box. I love the results of pudding mix in cookies or banana bread, but for eating as-is, scratch pudding is the promised land.

Making pudding is like making gravy. It’s easy, but you’ll become best friends with your whisk for about a half hour. Get everything you need out and ready before starting because you’ll be busy whisking. Mise en place.

It’s very similar to making ice cream. In a medium sauce pan combine sugar, flour, optional pinch of salt, and pour 2 cups of 2% milk over it. I have not tested using another type of milk. The pudding was wonderfully creamy and thick with 2% and I think whole milk, half-and-half or cream would make it too thick.

Old-Fashioned Banana Pudding - Sweet and creamy pudding with oodles of Nilla Wafers! A classic comfort-food dessert that's so good!

Heat the mixture until it begins to boil gently, whisking frequently. If you don’t whisk frequently, tan pudding skin will form on the bottom of the pan . When it breaks up, you’ll have tan chunks floating through your creamy mixture. No thanks.

Keep the heat at medium because cranking it up will likely cause the mixture to scorch so just take your time. It took a good 15 minutes of the pot appearing to do absolutely nothing for my pudding to finally begin to barely boil because I was compulsively whisking. I was staring into the proverbial pot that never boils, whisking it.

Old-Fashioned Banana Pudding - Sweet and creamy pudding with oodles of Nilla Wafers! A classic comfort-food dessert that's so good!

After the mixture boils, whisk continually for the next 2 to 4 minutes, or until the pudding has thickened. Take it off the heat and add vanilla.

In a glass measuring cup, whisk together 3 eggs and add about 1/4 cup of the hot pudding mixture to the eggs, whisking the whole time. This is called tempering eggs and if you don’t do it, you’ll literally scramble them.

Slowly pour the contents of the measuring cup into the sauce pan, whisking the entire time. Return the pan to the heat for about 2 to 4 minutes, whisking the whole time. This cooks the eggs.

Old-Fashioned Banana Pudding - Sweet and creamy pudding with oodles of Nilla Wafers! A classic comfort-food dessert that's so good!

In the meantime, layer Nilla wafers, topped with bananas, in an 8×8 or similar sized pan. Mine was 10×7. Pour half the pudding over the wafers and bananas. Add another layer of wafers, bananas, and top with the remaining pudding.

I used ripe bananas, but not over-ripe, just like the one shown. Save those really freckled and speckled ones for banana bread. They will just disintegrate and biting into slightly firm banana slices is the goal.

I used Reduced Fat Nilla Wafers for two reason. First, the obvious to save calories and fat when possible so you can eat more dessert. Secondly, the Reduced Fat variety are firmer, crunchier, and don’t turn to mush as easily, an advantage here. If you don’t have Nilla Wafters in your area, try graham crackers.

Old-Fashioned Banana Pudding - Sweet and creamy pudding with oodles of Nilla Wafers! A classic comfort-food dessert that's so good!

The pudding is sweet, luscious, and smooth with big nostalgic appeal. The texture from the wafers and the bananas, both suspended in thick and creamy, is pure good old-fashioned comfort food in a bowl.

If you’ve never made pudding from scratch, you’re going to love it.

Old-Fashioned Banana Pudding - Sweet and creamy pudding with oodles of Nilla Wafers! A classic comfort-food dessert that's so good!

Old-Fashioned Banana Pudding - Sweet and creamy pudding with oodles of Nilla Wafers! A classic comfort-food dessert that's so good!

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Old-Fashioned Banana Pudding

The pudding reminds me of the banana pudding my grandma used to make. It's sweet, creamy, and thick with notes of vanilla. Use ripe bananas, but not over-ripe. Save the really freckled and speckled ones for banana bread. I used Reduced Fat Nilla Wafers to save calories and fat, and because the Reduced Fat variety are firmer, crunchier, and don't turn as mushy as quickly. Use graham crackers if you don't have Nilla Wafers. Read the recipe over, in entirety, before beginning and have everything ready because you'll be busy whisking. It well worth the effort because the pudding is luscious comfort food, and tastes nothing like banana pudding from a box.

Yield: 8x8 or 10x7 pan (9x9 is too big)

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: about 20 minutes, stovetop

Total Time: 4+ hours, for chilling

Ingredients:

3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup all purpose flour
pinch salt, optional and to taste
2 cups 2% milk
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
3 large eggs
about 50 Nilla Wafers, divided (I prefer the Reduced Fat version; substitute with graham crackers if necessary)
3 to 4 large/XL ripe bananas, sliced into 1/4-inch rounds (use ripe bananas not over-ripe, they're too mushy)
about 3/4 cup coarsely chopped Nilla Wafers, for sprinkling (about 20-25 wafers)

Directions:

  1. Get everything you need out and ready before beginning because you'll be busy whisking and read the recipe over, at least twice, in full.
  2. In a medium sauce pan combine the sugar, flour, optional pinch of salt, and pour the milk over it.
  3. Heat this together over medium heat until it begins to boil gently, whisking quite frequently so that pudding skin doesn't form on the bottom of the pan. Keeping the heat at medium is advised because higher heat will likely cause the milky mixture to scorch. It took a good 15 minutes of the pot appearing to do absolutely nothing for my pudding to finally begin to barely boil because I was compulsively whisking.
  4. After you see the mixture boil, whisk continually for the next 2 to 4 minutes, or until the pudding has thickened. A transition comes when the pudding gets thicker by the stroke. Use your judgment and when you think the pudding has thickened up sufficiently, take it off the heat.
  5. Whisk in the vanilla; set aside.
  6. In a glass measuring cup, whisk together 3 eggs (using the same whisk is fine).
  7. Add about 1/4 cup of the hot pudding mixture to the eggs, whisking the whole time to temper the eggs so they don't scramble.
  8. Slowly pour the contents of the measuring cup into the sauce pan, whisking the entire time so you don't scramble the eggs.
  9. Return the pan to the stove, and cook over medium heat for about 2 to 4 minutes, whisking the whole time. This cooks the eggs. You'll know when the pudding is done and you can take it off the heat. It will be thick, creamy, and will look like pudding. It thickens up as it cools so don't over-cook it or it can get a little too firm. Take it off the heat; set aside, whisking every few minutes so skin doesn't form.
  10. In an 8x8, 10x7, or similar sized pan (9x9 is too big) make one even flat layer of Nilla wafers, covering the entire base of the pan (about 24 wafers).
  11. Top with banana slices in an even flat layer, covering the wafers.
  12. Whisk pudding and pour half over the bananas, smoothing lightly with a spatula.
  13. Repeat the layers, making one flat layer of wafers, another layer of bananas, and top with remaining pudding, smoothing the top lightly with a spatula.
  14. Cover with plasticwrap and refrigerate the pudding for at least 4 hours, or overnight.
  15. Before serving, evenly sprinkle the chopped wafers over the pudding. Pudding will keep airtight in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. The banana slices don't turn brown, although the wafers do continue soften as time passes.

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78 Responses to “Old-Fashioned Banana Pudding”

  1. #
    1
    Maryea {happy healthy mama} — March 6, 2014 at 3:24 am

    Total nostalgia! This brings me right back to my childhood. I’m thinking I have to let my kids experience this.

    Reply

    • Averie Sunshine replied: — March 6th, 2014 at 3:29 am

      Thats another reason I made it, too! So my daughter could have some (first time for it) and she LOVED it!

      Reply

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    The Macadame — March 6, 2014 at 3:33 am

    Oh my this looks divine!!! I’ve never made this before and it looks so comforting!
    Thanks Averie!
    The Macadame. xx
    http://www.creamstop.com

    Reply

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    Paula — March 6, 2014 at 3:47 am

    I’ve never made homemade pudding before, but I did make an ice cream base that was very similar. I’ve had layered pudding desserts before but the pudding wasn’t made from scratch. This would be worth the effort because it looks delicious ( and I like seeing it served in clear mugs)!

    Reply

    • Averie Sunshine replied: — March 6th, 2014 at 4:33 am

      And it’s not really ‘that’ much work; it’s like homemade cinn rolls vs storebought. No comparison. Either will work, but when you can, the scratch version is just so much better :) Thanks for noticing the clear mugs. Not the easiest photography project I’ve ever attempted LOL

      Reply

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    Marie @ Little Kitchie — March 6, 2014 at 4:11 am

    I was OBSESSED with banana pudding as a kid, I don’t know why I never think to make it anymore! Now you’ve got me craving it! :)

    Reply

  5. #
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    Madison — March 6, 2014 at 4:29 am

    YUM! The classic banana pudding is the best kind–an oldie but such a goodie.

    Reply

  6. #
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    simplegreenmoms.com — March 6, 2014 at 4:30 am

    Must make this for my Little Guy! Soooo glad you followed your cravings =)

    Reply

  7. #
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    Laura (Blogging Over Thyme) — March 6, 2014 at 4:36 am

    Hmmm…banana. Can never get enough! I love when random ideas pop up for recipes!

    Reply

    • Averie Sunshine replied: — March 6th, 2014 at 4:57 am

      Can never have too many ways to use them, right!

      Reply

  8. #
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    Colleen @ What's Baking in the Barbershop?! — March 6, 2014 at 4:44 am

    What a unique yet classic dessert! I can never get enough banana, so I know I would loooove this!

    Reply

  9. #
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    Aimee @ ShugarySweets — March 6, 2014 at 4:49 am

    My sister in law makes Banana Pudding for every family get together. It’s incredible. Yours looks awesome, I should make it and see what she thinks :)

    Reply

    • Averie Sunshine replied: — March 6th, 2014 at 4:56 am

      Thanks for the BHG pin :) and that’s so cool your SIL makes it! I would love to see how the two compare!

      Reply

  10. #
    10
    Lauren — March 6, 2014 at 5:00 am

    My mom made tons of banana pudding when she was pregnant with me, even eating a whole pan by herself within a day. It’s one of my favorite desserts (probably because of that) and so I can’t wait to make this!! :)

    Reply

    • Averie Sunshine replied: — March 6th, 2014 at 5:02 am

      What an awesome story!! I love that :) If you try it, LMK!

      Reply

  11. #
    11
    Laura Dembowski — March 6, 2014 at 5:35 am

    I don’t know if I’ve ever had banana pudding but I love all the components! Homemade pudding is the best! It’s not that hard to make and so tasty.

    Reply

    • Averie Sunshine replied: — March 6th, 2014 at 5:40 am

      Laura I have a feeling knowing how you like pies and your sort of preferences that you would LOVE this stuff! And yes homemade pudding is the best!

      Reply

  12. #
    12
    sally @ sallys baking addiction — March 6, 2014 at 5:46 am

    I love banana pudding so much! An oldie, but goodie recipe. Absolutely my top choice when it comes to pudding flavors. When my mom made it when I was little, I sprinkled butterscotch chips on top of it. Oh my gosh, Averie you have to try that next time! Now you have me craving all things banana – maybe a banana cream pie for breakfast?

    Reply

    • Averie Sunshine replied: — March 6th, 2014 at 5:51 am

      I had a feeling you’d love banana pudding. I had a streak of all these retro-ish, nostalgic desserts, banana pudding among them and a couple others I emailed you about that are all coming up now the next week or so :) But yes I can imagine butterscotch is amazing on this. Or..salted caramel! And banana cream pie for breakfast sounds great! LOL

      Reply

  13. #
    13
    Mary Frances — March 6, 2014 at 5:49 am

    Averie, I LOVE banana pudding! I think the Nilla wafers make it memorable :) I’m always craving bananas, but now it is all focused on this pudding! Pinned!

    Reply

  14. #
    14
    Sarah@WholeAndHeavenlyOven — March 6, 2014 at 6:28 am

    Oh my gosh, banana pudding is one of my favorite things ever. I totally want a big bowlful of this pudding right now at only 8 am! pinned.

    Reply

  15. #
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    Chelsea @ Gal on a Mission — March 6, 2014 at 6:28 am

    I remember having banana pudding all the time as a child and this definitely looks like what I am used to. Looks amazing, Averie! :)

    Reply

  16. #
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    marcie — March 6, 2014 at 6:37 am

    It doesn’t get much better than banana pudding, and this looks incredible! I make a banana pudding pie version often — it’s one of our favorites. :)

    Reply

  17. #
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    Kelli @ The Corner Kitchen — March 6, 2014 at 6:51 am

    I’m a sucker for anything that involves bananas, and especially love banana pudding! This is definitely a classic dessert that will never go out of style!

    Reply

  18. #
    18
    Chelsea @chelseasmessyapron — March 6, 2014 at 6:56 am

    This is amazing Averie! I haven’t had banana pudding forEVER. And vanilla wafers are totally one of my favorite cookies! This is such a great dessert!

    Reply

  19. #
    19
    Laura @ Laura's Culinary Adventures — March 6, 2014 at 7:12 am

    After looking at these photos, I’m not going to be able to get banana pudding out of my mind!

    Reply

  20. #
    20
    Ben — March 6, 2014 at 8:30 am

    I never realized pudding was so easy to make. Will have to try! But how did you get the bottom of your dish so clean looking in the scooped out area? Is the homemade pudding so thick that it stays on top of the wafers?

    Reply

  21. #
    21
    Bianca @ Confessions of a Chocoholic — March 6, 2014 at 10:33 am

    Yum! Sometimes nothing beats old fashioned and classic desserts! This reminds me of the banana pudding from Magnolia bakery in NY. I once made a version with Nutella hehe

    Reply

    • Averie Sunshine replied: — March 6th, 2014 at 6:48 pm

      I have the Magnolia Bakery cookbook! I should look to see if this is in there! And your Nutella version sounds amazing!

      Reply

  22. #
    22
    Kris — March 6, 2014 at 10:40 am

    I love it that you occasionally do a blast-from-the-past. And your old-fashioned spoon in your old-fashioned dessert is a great touch!

    Reply

    • Averie Sunshine replied: — March 6th, 2014 at 6:47 pm

      Thanks for noticing that spoon. Yes, I tried to make it all cohesive and flow with the theme :) And glad you like the old fashioned and classic posts!

      Reply

  23. #
    23
    Anna@CrunchyCreamySweet — March 6, 2014 at 11:14 am

    Homemade pudding is the best! Love this banana pudding – childhood fave! Pinned!

    Reply

  24. #
    24
    Meredith — March 6, 2014 at 2:23 pm

    So delicious!

    Reply

  25. #
    25
    Katie — March 6, 2014 at 2:55 pm

    See it is posts like these that make me WISH i liked banana!!

    Reply

    • Averie Sunshine replied: — March 6th, 2014 at 6:45 pm

      I wish you did too! This is SO good. There’s no actual banana in the pudding itself. But there’s dairy. So it’s all around, not for you. Sniff.

      Reply

  26. #
    26
    Dorothy @ Crazy for Crust — March 6, 2014 at 3:05 pm

    My mouth is watering, seriously. Sometimes you just need those old time recipes, you know! Gorgeous Averie!

    Reply

    • Averie Sunshine replied: — March 6th, 2014 at 6:44 pm

      Classics. Like your rolls. This is the stuff that people actually make. Not some crazy brownie with 17 things going on in it. I have those too. But you know what I mean!

      Reply

  27. #
    27
    vanillasugarblog — March 6, 2014 at 4:34 pm

    and you were generous with the crunch topping!
    yes!
    love my crunch with banana pudding!

    Reply

  28. #
    28
    Nicole — March 6, 2014 at 5:23 pm

    This looks incredible! I’ve followed you (ok, I can’t say followed because I only check-in when the littles permit) for going on 4 years now and I can’t believe how phenomenal your photography is! You have a true talent and it’s always so refreshing to visit your blog, Avery :)

    Reply

    • Averie Sunshine replied: — March 6th, 2014 at 6:43 pm

      What a super sweet compliment and thanks for following along for 4 years! I really appreciate your longstanding support!

      Reply

  29. #
    29
    Michele Sparrow — March 6, 2014 at 7:21 pm

    Oh wow. This was a total blast from the past! My grandma, she was Oma to us (German), made this dessert ALL the time. I have not had it since she made it for us as children! Wow. I remember sneaking Nilla Wafers. My boys have never had this because amazingly, I had not thought of this pudding until just now. I will have to make this and tell them my Oma’s story. So fun. Thanks for the delightful trip down memory lane! :-)

    Reply

    • Averie Sunshine replied: — March 7th, 2014 at 3:13 am

      I hadn’t thought of it for years. Like maybe 10-15?I mean a VERY long time. And then it just bam popped into my head I have no idea why and I couldn’t stop thinking about it until I made it! I know your boys are going to flip for this stuff :) Please LMK how it goes!

      Reply

  30. #
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    Luv What You Do — March 6, 2014 at 7:47 pm

    I love banana pudding! This looks incredible!

    Reply

  31. #
    31
    Jennifer @ Peanut Butter and Peppers — March 6, 2014 at 7:53 pm

    Hi Averie, Your Banana Bread looks just amazing! I happen to have all of the ingredients on hand!!I think I will make this tomorrow or over the weekend! Thank you for a great recipe.

    Reply

    • Averie Sunshine replied: — March 7th, 2014 at 3:12 am

      Thanks & if you try it, LMK how it goes!

      Reply

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    Lauren @ Dash of Soul — March 6, 2014 at 8:51 pm

    YUM! This is a staple dessert at southern restaurants down here but I haven’t had it in a really long time. I’m sure it’s WAY better with homemade pudding! Pinning this to try at home! :)

    Reply

    • Averie Sunshine replied: — March 7th, 2014 at 3:12 am

      Thanks for pinning & I know it’s definitely a Southern staple!

      Reply

  33. #
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    Ari — March 6, 2014 at 8:57 pm

    I LOVE those cookies, I remember making my mom buy them all the time when I was little! They are so melt in their mouth!
    This looks like the perfect dish for a family get together! Beautiful pictures!

    Reply

  34. #
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    Kristy @ Sweet Treats & More — March 6, 2014 at 9:30 pm

    I love banana pudding, and with vanilla wafers! This looks amazing!

    Reply

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    Ceara @ Ceara's Kitchen — March 6, 2014 at 10:36 pm

    Oh Averie – your banana pudding looks so dreamy! I want to just take that spoon and take a bite of it! :D I have never had banana pudding but now I seriously want to :D

    Reply

  36. #
    36
    cheri — March 7, 2014 at 9:58 am

    Oh you always have the best desserts. This looks divine. Will put on my list of must haves to make.

    Reply

  37. #
    37
    Elaine @ Cooking to Perfection — March 7, 2014 at 10:12 am

    Banana pudding has always been one of my all-time favorite desserts! I haven’t had a banana pudding that I don’t love…and get seconds of. Your pictures look amazing, Averie! Make me want to go in my kitchen and make a batch of naner pudding right now. :)

    Reply

  38. #
    38
    Kayle (The Cooking Actress) — March 7, 2014 at 12:48 pm

    This looks like the absolute BEST recipe for banana pudding I’ve ever seen! The perfect amount of bananas and Nilla wafers mmmmm

    Reply

  39. #
    39
    Kelly Senyei | Just a Taste — March 7, 2014 at 1:53 pm

    Love, love, love banana pudding! This looks awesome!

    Reply

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    Katy — March 7, 2014 at 6:22 pm

    I have a love/hate relationship with pudding. It’s easy, love, but I hate the standing over the stove with a whisk thing. This, however, would make me get over that entirely because this looks amazing!! Especially with those nilla wafers!

    Reply

  41. #
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    Amy — March 7, 2014 at 10:21 pm

    My dinky little arm muscles would get tired whisking for that long — you must have been able to skip your run that day! ;) I’ve actually never had banana pudding, but with how much I love them (I eat one every day with breakfast!), that needs to change. It’s too funny how you mentioned scrambling the eggs if you don’t temper them… My mom accidentally did that making brownies for a bake sale as a 7-year-old, and she’s never made them from scratch since. It scarred her for life!

    Reply

    • Averie Sunshine replied: — March 8th, 2014 at 12:50 am

      I don’t skip workouts. Period. They are my sanity :) And I saw your McDonald’s copycat on the Ziplist newsletter – congrats!

      Reply

      • Amy replied: — March 10th, 2014 at 12:42 am

        Aww Averie, you’re just the sweetest — thank you so much!! I thought my mom and I were the only ones to ever read those newsletters. I’m so touched that you noticed! :) And I completely agree, workouts keep me sane. Especially when I’m up to my elbows in brownie batter and cookie dough!

  42. #
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    Kira @ The Healthable Old Soul — March 8, 2014 at 5:52 pm

    I love Nilla wafers and a banana combination!

    Reply

  43. #
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    Chung-Ah | Damn Delicious — March 9, 2014 at 11:16 pm

    This is just what I need at 11PM as I’m sure this will relieve ALL of my tax stresses! Plus, Nilla wafers are my guilty pleasure!

    Reply

    • Averie Sunshine replied: — March 10th, 2014 at 1:22 am

      Girl this stuff was SO GOOD! The pan weighed like…10 lbs. It’s ridic comfort food. So, so good! Would help your tax stress. So would a couple drinks :)

      Reply

  44. #
    44
    Emily @ Life on Food — March 10, 2014 at 5:03 pm

    Pudding would never be my first pick for dessert but this looks amazing! Vanilla wafers are classic.

    Reply

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    Los | The Man, The Chef, The Dad — March 13, 2014 at 6:01 pm

    I never had banana pudding until a few years into my marriage. My southern raised wife was holding out on me. BIG time! By the looks of it I’m sure she would approve of this. Maybe I’ll surprise her one day.

    Reply

    • Averie Sunshine replied: — March 13th, 2014 at 6:41 pm

      If you have a Southern wife and you made this for her, I think she would be ecstatic!!!

      Reply

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    Jessica @ Sprinkle Some Sugar — March 14, 2014 at 5:54 pm

    Yum! Nothing beats an old fashioned banana pudding! And Millard wafers! Mmmmm. :) pinned!

    Reply

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    Nutmeg Nanny — March 15, 2014 at 6:27 pm

    Oh yum! It’s been a while since I’ve had banana pudding but now you’ve got me craving it too :) this looks so delicious!

    Reply

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    48
    J.S. @ Sun Diego Eats — March 17, 2014 at 1:19 pm

    That looks absolutely heavenly, never thought I’d like banana pudding until I tried the one at Magnolia Bakery in NYC and I realized its quite lovely when the custard is vanilla/plain but there are bananas layered in, just like yours :)

    Reply

    • Averie Sunshine replied: — March 17th, 2014 at 1:56 pm

      Oh I would LOVE to try the Magnolia version! I have their cookbook (need to see if it’s in there – probably not) but the in-person version would be heavenly I presume!

      Reply

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    Nancy @ gottagetbaked — March 17, 2014 at 2:40 pm

    Awwwww, this dessert really brings me wonderful memories of my childhood, Averie. We didn’t have them often but sometimes, for a treat, my mom would buy a box of Nilla wafers (usually when they were on sale) and my sisters and I would fight over every single precious cookie. Making pudding from scratch is definitely an arm work out but you’re right, the flavour and texture is worth it over the boxed mixes. I love banana desserts so this is right in my wheel house. Love this and your beautiful photos!

    Reply

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    Amy — October 2, 2014 at 10:52 am

    This was a delicious dessert. My husband loved this. Thanks for a wonderful recipe! This was the first I’ve made from your website and I’m sure there will be many more that I will make. :)

    Reply

    • Averie Sunshine replied: — October 2nd, 2014 at 2:12 pm

      Thanks for trying this recipe! Of all recipes to make first, this wasn’t one I would expect (usually it’s cookies or bars) so if you can make this, 98% of everything else on my site is faster and easier! Glad you and your hubby loved this!

      Reply

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